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Local gallery helps turn Bob Boze Bell painting into 10-foot bronze statue - Prescott Valley's newest resident

Courtesy photo
See “Not So Gentle Tamer,” currently in clay mold form, at the Bronze Smith Fine Art Foundry Open House today and Saturday, 7331 E. Second St. Prescott Valley. For information, call 772-2378 or visit www.bronzesmith.com.

When Arizona historian, author and artist Bob Boze Bell created a one-of-a-kind painting to help Prescott Valley put on its Centennial Gala in February, little did he realize his concept would become a distinctive piece of public art to commemorate the state's big event.

Local Bronze Smith Fine Art Gallery & Foundry owner Ed Reilly bought the first raffle ticket for the painting and said, "This needs to be a bronze." Gala committee chair Lora Lee Nye said Reilly contacted Bell and convinced him to join in the project.

After creating smaller statues from the painting, sculptor Deb Gessner digitally enlarged the 22-inch piece and, under Bell's supervision, began to craft a 10-foot version of "Not So Gentle Tamer," complete with the rattlesnake the subject had just beheaded in the original painting.

The Prescott Valley Arts and Culture Commission has wholly supported the private effort to bring the bronze project to life, Nye said. The Town of Prescott Valley has donated the land for the final bronze art to stand at Lakeshore and Lake Valley Roads.

The original artwork comes with a hefty price tag - $87,000 - and the committee has planned a number of ways to raise the money. The first is for 10 to 15 premier donors of $5,600 who will be listed on a plaque at the site. Then, smaller statues of 23 and 13 inches will be sold to collectors for $3,600 and $1,600 respectively. These will be limited editions, Nye said.

"When they're gone, they're gone," she said.

Nye said the committee will place any money raised above the expenses for the sculpture in trust for Art at the Center. She said the committee hopes to have all the money raised by Labor Day so the sculpture can be installed as a state-sanctioned Centennial event. "It's the only sculpture we are aware of that is dedicated to the Centennial."

The smaller sculptures of "Not So Gentle Tamer" will be on sale to collectors at Prescott's Phippen Art Show this coming Memorial Day weekend.

"Not So Gentle Tamer" is now a 10-foot clay sculpture standing at Bronze Smith Foundry in Prescott Valley. The foundry soon will break the sculpture into 18 pieces to prepare for pouring the bronze.

Those who would like to see the sculpture before it is dismantled may do so this coming Friday and Saturday at the Bronze Smith Gallery & Foundry Open House. The event will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at 7331 E. Second St. in Prescott Valley. Bronze pouring will take place on Friday at 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. Visitors also can enjoy foundry tours, a sculpture garden, and gallery featuring traditional and contemporary bronze sculpture.

Collectors wanting more information about purchasing smaller sculptures of "Not So Gentle Tamer" may call Nye at 420-0051.


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